See How NPR Hacks Up Testy Interview with Ted Cruz

NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is a big fan of President Obama, and when he interviews him, he helpfully sets him up. In a recent interview on race relations, Inskeep added little prompts instead of questions. That’s not what Ted Cruz received on Wednesday’s show. Inskeep was blunt when discussing the new Trump idea of banning Muslims from entering America:

STEVE INSKEEP: All this led to a bottom-line question when Senator Cruz visited our studios. [To Cruz] Which Muslims do you want to keep out of the United States?

TED CRUZ: Well, I'm not sure that's the way I would put the question. What I would say is what is the obligation of the president and commander in chief? And the first obligation is to keep this country safe.

NPR posted the full transcript online. What that demonstrated was that NPR and Inskeep routinely sliced out (for time and surely, for political convenience) Cruz whacking away at Democrats. Here’s the rest of Cruz’s answer to that, sliced at mid-sentence:

And the first obligation is to keep this country safe,  and so I've introduced legislation that would suspend for three years refugees from countries where ISIS or al-Qaida control a substantial amount of territory. And the reason is simple. The FBI has told Congress that the Obama administration cannot vet these refugees.

Then Inskeep brought in the rest of the answer:

INSKEEP: The Texas senator wore a white shirt and orange tie. He was on his way to work in Washington. Cruz introduced legislation after the recent attacks in Paris. His bill would make it even harder than it is for refugees to reach the U.S. from five war-torn countries. Cruz says the few exceptions would include non-Muslims who are persecuted.

CRUZ: President Obama and Hillary Clinton's plan to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to America when the FBI says they cannot ascertain if these refugees are ISIS terrorists or not - that makes no sense.

For us, this brings to mind the way Cruz had his interview sliced and diced by CBS's Face the Nation in January of 2014. Just to illustrate how much NPR cut out of Cruz’s remarks, the remarks that were cut out of the broadcast are in bold. Notice the taxpayer-funded network slices in and out of Cruz's sentences to construct it just the way they like it:

INSKEEP: I've had a look at your legislation. It specifies some countries — Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, other countries could be added by the government over time. But I have to note, you're looking at refugees, not broadly people entering the United States, including by easier paths. You're not bringing up Pakistan, which is where one of the San Bernardino attackers came from. You're not bringing up Brussels, which is where some of the Paris attackers came from. Why not?

CRUZ: There is no doubt that we need broader reforms. And, in fact, talking about Brussels and Europe, one of the real challenges is the visa waiver program. And unfortunately if you look at Europe, the problem of terrorism is definitely growing there because of many of these waves of refugees that've flowed into Europe.

But the immediate threat we have is ISIS. The Islamic state has declared jihad on America. They have declared their intention to commit acts of terror like they did in Paris, like occurred in San Bernardino, and they've made clear that they intend to use the refugee program to do that.

And so there is a very simple question that, as far as I'm concerned, the president ought to be asked every time he is asked a question, which is: Why would you bring people in when the FBI tells you they cannot vet them to determine whether or not they're terrorists?

INSKEEP: But can't someone ask you, why would you focus on refugees who tend to be fleeing a situation, and leave alone, at least for the moment, all these other routes, and all other kinds of people who — who actually have proven in a few cases to be dangerous?

CRUZ: Because if you look at, for example, the Paris terrorists, we know that at least one of them came in among the refugees. This is — this is an influx of population where the FBI says they lack the information to ascertain if they're terrorists. What James Comey — and, by the way, James Comey, the head of the FBI, was appointed by Barack Obama. What he told Congress is the FBI lacks the information on who in Syria is involved with Syria, who's involved with the jihadists.

And so as he put it, he said, "We can query the database till the cows come home; we'll get no results because we don't have the underlying information to check them." If you look, for example — you're right. Look, do we need to impose stronger background checks and security checks on immigration more generally in an age of terror? Absolutely. If you look at the wife among the San Bernardino terrorists, she came on a fiancee visa.

The background check vetting for fiancee visas is essentially identical to what President Obama and Hillary Clinton say they want to put on these Syrian refugees. Now, the problem is, look — she put a made-up address, a fictional home address, and yet the background check of the vetting didn't, didn't catch that. And given — given the widespread lethality of radical Islamic terrorism, we need to be serious responding to it.

And the problem, Steve — this president doesn't even acknowledge the problem exists, much less put in place serious policies to deal with it.

NPR didn't keep the part where Cruz talked about the persecution and killing of Christans and Yazidis. It was all sliced out:

INSKEEP: You — you've made an exception for people from those countries who may be victims of genocide, which has been interpreted as people who may be Christian or non-Muslim. Are you actually imposing a religious test here?

CRUZ: Well, it is true the legislation I've introduced has an exception for those who are victims of genocide, those who are religious minorities. Christians could fall into that category; Yazidis could fall into that category.

Now, I would note, the notion of a religious test, our immigration law for decades has included provisions focusing on religious persecution. We have always had a religious test. And what is happening to the Christians by ISIS is qualitatively different. They are facing genocide in that ISIS is attempting to exterminate the Middle Eastern Christians in a way that is qualitatively different from other people.

There are many refugees there that are fleeing war conditions, that are fleeing poverty, that are fleeing chaos. But genocide is something we have always recognized as qualitatively different, when a particular religious minority is being persecuted and being murdered the way Christians are being crucified, beheaded, raped and murdered by ISIS.

NPR's not big on talking about Christians being crucified, beheaded, and raped. Instead, they skipped ahead to speaking up for the Muslims (and speaking up for Obama when charged with being soft on Islamic terror). This is where NPR really gets out the hacksaw and slices Cruz's speech into little pieces:

INSKEEP: Is there a bigger cultural concern that you're actually speaking to on some level here, Senator — the concern among some in America that there are just too many Muslims coming and that they are culturally inappropriate for the United States?

CRUZ: Look, I can't speak for what concerns you might have or others have. My concern is keeping America safe. And we need a commander in chief whose single-minded focus is protecting this nation.

You know, President Obama, when he addressed the nation, he gave a speech that was so utterly disconnected from the threats facing this country. He gave a speech in which he never once uttered the words "radical Islamic terrorism." Now, why is that? Because he never utters the word. It is a policy throughout the administration that you cannot acknowledge the evil we face. And in fact —

INSKEEP: He did talk about terrorism, if I might, and talked about extreme beliefs among, among Muslims —

CRUZ: But — but this is important. Yes, he talks about terrorism writ large, but he doesn't acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism. It is a particular threat. And he treats it — indeed, I was at the prayer breakfast where the, the National Prayer Breakfast when it was right after, you'll recall, the Jordanian pilot had been lit on fire. The king of Jordan was supposed to be at the prayer breakfast. He flew back to Jordan to deal with the aftermath of that act of terror.

And President Obama got up and gave a remarkable speech where he served as an apologist for radical Islamic terrorists. Now, what does it mean to be an apologist? Because those are strong words. An apologist is someone that gives a rationalization, gives a justification, that steps forward and tries to explain in a reasonable way the conduct of others.

What President Obama says is, "Yes, ISIS are committing terrorist acts." But at the prayer breakfast, he said, "You know what? Christians and Jews have done bad things, too; look at the Crusades; look at the Inquisition."

INSKEEP: Isn't he just trying to make sure that he's not singling out Muslims who may be loyal Americans?

CRUZ: Baloney. Last I checked, the Crusades and Inquisitions ended hundreds of years ago. I don't think it's too much to be asking for the president to stay in the current millennium. And here's the problem. That argument is exactly the argument ISIS uses. They justify their acts of terror based on the Crusades and Inquisition. If the Crusades and Inquisition were happening now, I would readily speak out against them. They were wrong.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous edit, making sure Cruz can't mock Obama for using incredibly outdated mockery of Christianity. All of this explanation of radical Islam was thrown out:

But thankfully they are not, and we need a president who can distinguish — you know, I have a book that I wrote this summer that you and I have talked about before. It's called A Time for Truth.

INSKEEP: Right. Yeah.

CRUZ: In that book, I quote Egypt's president, President al-Sisi, who, in a remarkable speech that he gave on January 1st of this year at Cairo University — in that speech, President al-Sisi calls out radical Islamic terrorism, calls out the grave threat, and calls on the Muslim world to rise up against radical Islamic terrorism.

Now, for President al-Sisi to do that — he is a Muslim leader of one of the largest Muslim nations in the world — for him to do that, that was courageous. He was literally putting a bounty on his head for the Islamists who will try to murder him for calling it out. And as I observe in the book, A Time for Truth, what does it say when the president of Egypt shows more courage, more clarity, more willingness to confront this evil threat than does the president of the United States? That's unfortunate.

Inskeep then came back to needle Senator Cruz that Donald Trump was "outbidding" him on the Muslims:

INSKEEP: Has Donald Trump effectively outbid you here, Senator? Because he's calling to block all Muslims from coming to the United States, which would eliminate any potential Muslim who might be a threat.

CRUZ: Well, I disagree with Donald on that. He — he is welcome to discuss his policy ideas. That — that is not my view of how we should approach it. My view is we should focus very directly on the threat, which is radical Islamic terrorism. And Islamism —

INSKEEP: So, you're fine if plenty of Muslims come by other routes other than what your legislation deals with? You're perfectly comfortable with that?

CRUZ: There are millions of peaceful Muslims in the world. There are millions of peaceful Muslims in America. This is not about the Islamic faith. It is about Islamism, which is a very different thing.

Islamism, you saw with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, a belief — the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization. It funds jihadists across the world. And Islamism is a political and theological belief that the fanatics must bring an Islamic caliphate to this world, that they must forcibly convert or murder all of the infidels, being anyone that doesn't embrace their radical Islamic views, and that they must wage jihad against not just the little Satan, which is what they call Israel, but also the great Satan, which is what they call America. In all of that, they are very candid about saying it is their object to kill as many Americans as possible, and the president refuses to acknowledge this or to do anything serious to defend this.

This keeps on happening throughout the interview, but this is the worst of it. Everyone understands that a network like NPR isn't going to run a 30-minute interview (unless it was with Terry Gross on Fresh Air or The Diane Rehm Show, and both of those hosts would probably quit before they were pressed to have a talk with Ted Cruz). But the edits here look very opportunistic, and the questions are much harsher than President Obama receives -- or Bernie Sanders, to use a more recent example. It's merely the latest proof that NPR is a taxpayer-funded sandbox for liberals.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis